If Russ Ball is in, Mike McCarthy may be out

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

With the Packers hiring a new G.M., the new G.M. will have to want to work with coach Mike McCarthy. On Thursday, McCarthy made it clear that he’ll have to want to work with the new G.M.

Bob McGinn, who covered the Packers for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and who now operates his own media outlet, suggests that the final configuration in the new front office will consist of Russ Ball as General Manager, and Brian Gutekunst as executive V.P. of football operations. Then, per McGinn, McCarthy will have to decide whether he wants to stay.

Putting it a different way (i.e., the way we’ve heard it), Ball and McCarthy don’t have a good relationship. It’s a topic that was addressed on Thursday’s PFT PM podcast, as I tried to digest and understand McCarthy’s remarks.

“It has to fit,” McCarthy said Thursday. “I have the best job in pro football, and no disrespect to the other 31 clubs. I love it here, I want to be here, but it has to fit for me, too. I’ve done this job long enough, I wouldn’t want the G.M. to hire me or partner with me if we don’t fit together. Because you’re on a path for, in the short term and long term, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to get to where you’re going to go. It has to be a partnership.”

Put simply, Ball has to want McCarthy, McCarthy has to want Ball. And McCarthy’s comments undoubtedly were a message to team president Mark Murphy that, if Ball gets the G.M. job, Murphy eventually may have to find a coach — either because Ball doesn’t want McCarthy or McCarthy doesn’t want Ball.

So keep an eye on this one. Murphy is smart enough to know the consequences of giving Ball the G.M. job. And the consequences quite likely will include the Packers needing a new head coach, either this year or next year.

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